Paternity Laws: Assuming Responsibility For A Child That Is Not Yours

advice on divorceQuestion:

My paternity laws question concerns taking responsibility for a child that may not be mine.

My girlfriend is pregnant and it may be my child or her ex-boyfriend’s. I am willing to take responsibility and sign the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity and the birth certificate.

However, if her ex-boyfriend has a DNA test proving that he is the biological father, what could be the legal repercussions for me?


This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Oklahoma and am thus unable to provide legal advice on divorce or paternity laws.

Be very careful with your willingness to assume paternity. Once you’re legally identified as the father, it can be exceptionally difficult to get out without the real biological father’s assistance.

Most states have adopted the Uniform Parentage Act. This law provides the guidelines for how to establish or deny paternity. If you have any doubts whatsoever that you are the father of the child (and you clearly do), contact a family law attorney immediately and discuss your options for both denying paternity and requesting a genetic test.

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I cannot stress how important it is that you weigh all your options before you sign a birth certificate or an acknowledgment of paternity. You’re coming from a good place in your willingness to take care of the child, but this is potentially a lengthy obligation to pay for a child that may or may not be yours.

It’s very important that you seek the assistance of a skilled family law attorney who is well-versed in paternity law as you weigh your options moving forward.

To set up an appointment with a Cordell and Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Oklahoma City Divorce Lawyer Christian D. Barnard, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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